Last year at this time I looked back at the 2014 gardening year month by month. This year there were just a few noteworthy events — themes really — as they repeated themselves in different configurations all year long.
Everyone in my gardening world agrees that we will remember this year for a long time. We had a sweet Spring, a splendid Summer, an amazing Autumn and a weird Winter. Unlike so many parts of the U.S. and the world, we did not have any deadly storms or floods or drought. We enjoyed moderate temperatures for most of the summer with above normal temps until recently. It practically rained on cue. I never had to water the garden, other than keeping new plants comfortable. We are now continuinng our strange winter weather with an ice/snow storm and below normal temperatures. But as this is the end of 2015, the jury is in: It was a memorable weather year for all the best reasons.
This was the year that one of our troubled apple trees came down and everything else came up perfectly. My new Lilium leichtlini bulbs (below) made a dramatic initial appearance as did the 'Magnet' snowdrops. A Peony obvata that I moved last fall put on as floriferous a performance as if it had never been dug up and rudely replanted. My 'Yaku Angel' Rhododendron bloomed for only the second time in the dozen years it's been in my garden and it was quite a sight. Unfortunately its partner, R. yedoense poukhanense 'Alba', which always flowers heavily had nary a bud. My Thanksgiving Hellebores both flowered — and not just with a single stem.
LONG TERM GARDEN PROJECT
I joined The Patient Gardener's monthly meme, "End of the Month View," looking at a particular area of the garden. I picked the sloping area around the Tea House as the spot I would concentrate on. For just over a year I've been filling in this area with an assortment of Ferns, Hostas, spring ephemerals and evergreen shrubs. Last fall I joined up two swaths of dwarf Irises to produce a blue river that should visually spill down the hill this spring. A great meme for keeping one on track instead of running all over the garden. Or at least not running quite as much!
If you were reading this blog last summer then you know that most of our time was spent on our massive driveway project. But before it could officially begin, I had to move dozens of plants out of harm's way. Mark made holding beds in the moss garden which we had already decided to redesign. The holding beds turned out to be an ingenious solution to protecting the plants while letting them continue to grow.
This was the biggest construction project we've undertaken since putting in the ponds in 1997. It began in late June and ended in early August. Lots of mud, mess, noise, vibrations and rain.
But Matthew Wienke who did the work is a genius when it comes to stone. We are in love with our new paved driveway, the massive rock garden wall and stone steps that lead from the front door up into the Moon Garden. Now that we've had snow we can also say that it was easy to clear with the snowblower. A big project worth all the time and expense. All-in-all it was a very good gardening year!